Wednesday, May 30, 2012

WIP Wednesday #3; Bit by Bit

Happy Wednesday! I have been eagerly awaiting this day because I want to show off all the amazing projects I have going right now. I have not one, not two, but THREE WIP knitting projects, plus a slowly progressing spindle project. Each one is coming along at it's own pace, bit by bit and row by row.

First on my list for you is the Amari Shawl, which is for a KAL I am doing with Evelyn and a bunch of others. I told myself way back in January I wouldn't buy any new yarn this year, but sadly that plan has come to a halt. I wanted to do this shawl so bad, but I didn't have enough of any worsted yarn in my stash. In the end I caved and purchased Plymouth Yarn Jeannee, in several shades of blue to make the shawl striped. I am still not sure how much I like this project yet, probably because of the yarn, which is half cotton, half acrylic (I did get it in the 'baby' section of the LYS), which doesn't give much drape. I wanted something suitable for summer though, so I think it will be ok. If you get the chance, hop over to the Ravelry KAL and see what everyone is up too, they are all amazing.  For me, this project is going slow, even though it's a fast knit, because it is my knit night only project. It's simply the kind of thing I can take there and not worry about getting distracted during.


I finally casted on  my lacy summer top last weekend, and then ripped it out 3 rows later because it was twisted. Seriously, 260 stitches with yarn that thin is really hard to get right the first time. And man, this thing knits slow. I feel like I've knitted forever, and I'm not even past the first inch of edging! I know in the end I will love it, but right now it's just a pain, and I think it's hurting my eyes to work on too because of how small the yarn is. Lace weight yarn, after this project, is no longer my friend. 


My final WIP for the week is my Pink Spiral Scarf (or is it a shawl?) which has been on the needles for awhile but barely been worked on. For the most part, it has been my between projects project, but I've decided to try and make it my before bed project, since it requires less concentration and eye strain to work on and I can listen to my audio book during it. 



Speaking of audio books, I decided to try one for the first time last week. I was at the library and they had a book I have been needing to read anyway, Crossed by Ally Condie,which is the sequel to the popular book Matchd, and decided to give it a try. It's definitely a different experience that's for sure. It's taking some getting used to the voices and also having to remember what 'chapter' I left off on. But overall, it's an ok experience. I prefer actual books more, but this is ok too.


So now I want to share you something I am REALLY proud of! I have been working on spinning up some lovely Merino/ Tussah Silk blend yarn and I originally was going to divide it into threes and triple ply it, but the first 1/3 came out kinda thick, like everything else I have always spun, and I decided I wanted something different. So for the second 1/3 I took a shot at making it much thinner, and found success! I am so excited! I have never spun anything this spin, or consistent, on my spindle before. It's going much slower, but the progress is so refreshing that it's worth it. Thanks again Ivy for the amazing gift!


 I am 2 days away from finishing up my figure class. I can't wait to share my drawings with you guys, I know you will all love as much as I do (I can't believe I'm even saying that about the figure!). For now, I am leaving you with a picture of Muffin, who thought my spindle was a toy last weekend. Have a good one everyone!


~Lisa

If you want to participate in WIP Wedneday or see more, visit Tami's Amis :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Home Again

Today's post isn't really about knitting, or really anything specific, I just feel like posting. 

For the past 3 weeks I've been coming home on the weekends to work since I cannot work in Manhattan during the week with my summer school class. As annoying as the drive each weekend is, it really is nice to be away from the drama of college and roommates and everything and just relax at home. I think the main thing I like about being home is my kitties :) So today I'm going to share more kitty photos with you.

I think Muffin is sick of me taking her picture!

And now she wants out (I love the lighting!)

Sasha and Muffin LOVE the catnip plant out back, they even have a spot that is pretty much dead because they always sit in it!

And then she got frisky and wanted my camera cord!

And let the fight over the spot begin!

Eating the grass :D

Dad got out the mop and Sasha got curious!

And this is where she spends her nights, on top of the mouse cage!

I really miss my kitties when I am at school, and I really wish my landlords would allow pets :( I want a cat so bad! But for now, I live vicariously through my parents stories of the crazy things these 2 do.

To end the post, I want to share with you a funny idea I had last night. We were sitting around and I just wanted to knit (something my dad gets annoyed by when I'm home, which is why I like being in Manhattan...) and he was trying to get me to do something else. I told him that "I wish I had a note on my head, so I could just point to it when you ask me to do something". I was just being silly, but decided to try it out and share it with you!


How much fun would it be to have that tattooed on your head, wrist, or just something you could show people when you didn't feel like doing anything else?

I hope everyone is having a good day! It's Memorial Day here in the states which means I get the day off from life. But I still have to head back to school tomorrow for my last week of class.

~Lisa


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Saturday Evening Book Review #2

I am really excited to share this weeks books with you all, they are both really fun books that I truly enjoyed reading this past week. So without further ado, here is this week's Saturday Evening Book Review!


Weekend Knitting, by Melanie Falick


Likes: 

  • As the name says, all the patterns are finish able within a weekend or two.
  • The author added extra sections throughout with fun ideas for weekends and knitting. Some examples: Knitting in literature, in films, recipes and more!
  • All the photos are beautiful


Dislikes:

  • There are a few projects that seems impractical, but it probably depends on the person who is knitting


Overall, I really like this book, it is one I would probably invest in if given the chance.

Patterns I like:




Custom Knits, by Wendy Bernard

Likes: 
  • Includes instructions to create your own sweaters! 
  • Has patterns and ideas for ways to alter it.
  • In the intro,the author says she likes sweaters in the round, and therefore all the patterns are worked as such
  • INCLUDES INSTRUCTIONS TO MAKE YOUR OWN! (really like this :D )


Dislikes:
  • Some of the alterations don't make a lot of sense
  • I wish it had instructions for tank tops.


My aunt gave me this book and said keep it as long as I need it, so honestly, she will probably never see it again! In general, I really like this book and the author is really straight forward.

Favorite Patterns:
  1. Essential Tank
  2. Jane
  3. Jewel
  4. Paradise Beach Cover Up
  5. Skinny Empire


That's it for this week's books! I have 2 new projects I can't wait to share with you in the coming weeks as well as some spinning. Finally, I have a question for you guys. Do you ever check back to blogs to see if the author replied to comments you left? I hardly ever reply because I don't think anyone checks to see if I did. But if I know you are checking, I will reply more. I know that I only check for replies on blogs that I know the author usually does so.

I hope everyone is having a good weekend, and those in the states enjoy their (hopefully) Monday off! I will be knitting :)

~Lisa

I keep forgetting kitty pictures, I'll get better I swear!



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The hunt is on...and a pair of socks too!

Hey all. So I probably will not be doing WIP Wednesday tomorrow, because I don't really have any WIPs to talk about! Yea, that's right, I finished my socks!


In the end, I really like these socks! The foot was a butt to work, but it turned out alright in the end. The heel worries me a bit though, because it doesn't seem to want to stay lined up with the heel of my foot always, so I often have to rotate the socks. As for the yarn, Pagewood Farms Yukon, I absolutely adore the color, but the yarn itself seems a bit fuzzy; I'm wondering how this will hold up in a machine/after washing...
(My photo skills, or lack there of, do no justice to the beauty of these socks!)

As for the 'hunt' I referred to in my title, I am currently hunting down a nice worsted yarn to make this shawl for Evelyn's (Project: Stash) KAL. I am leaning towards a blue color, maybe even just getting some more of the yarn I used to make this:

Plymouth Yarn, Jeannee...but there's only 111 yards per skein :/

Blue just naturally looks good on me. I will have to do a bit of hunting at my LYS on Thursday to find the perfect fit (that isn't too expensive....too bad budgets always get in the way...so much for using only stash yarn this year!)

In other news, I knitted this winter headband up yesterday and today (it only took a total of 4 hours!) and it is now for sale in my Etsy shop. I need opinions on the photos though. I don't own a dummy to take a photo of it on, and I don't want to photograph is on a real head either. Do these photo's suffice or should I find a "head" to put it on. I am seriously considering making more, since it utilizes a few things I love: Handspun and Handdyed yarns, bright colors against black, and quick knits. What do you all think?


I am really enjoying my summer figure class right now, and I'm learning so much! I hope that everyone else out there in blog land is enjoying your time spent doing your passions, be it knitting, working, cooking, anything, and is having a good start to the week.

~Lisa

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday Evening Book Review Take 1

Hello my faithful readers. Tonight I want to introduce you to something new I am going to be doing hopefully every Saturday night!

The Saturday Evening Book Review

The idea came to me when I was at the local library looking for books with patterns to use my lace yarn on. Our library has this very extensive selection of knitting books, at least 3 shelves. I sat down and looked through some prospective ones before picking a few out (and in the end, I didn't even use any of them as a pattern choice...). So now I think I am going to go every week and check out a couple knitting books that sound like fun! 

By posting reviews each week it will give me an opportunity to learn some new techniques and discover new patterns, as well as for you guys to learn about new books, patterns, designers etc that you may not have had a chance before. I hope you find these reviews as insightful and helpful as I do!

Tonight's book list includes Stitch 'n Bitch: Superstar Knitting, Luxury Yarn One Skein Wonders, and Feminine Knits. 

**Disclaimer: I am not being paid for these reviews, they are simply my personal feelings and ideas. Also, I have likely not knitted any of the patterns in these books, so the reviews are more about the books themselves and not the patterns**

Like:
  • The helpful and somewhat extensive sections on color work knitting, lace, cables, beads and general tips.
  • The diagrams they use to explain all of the above
  • The photos of the patterns
Dislike:
  • I really wish there was something I could think of that I disliked, but there really isn't. Overall I love the Stitch 'n Bitch books are always such a joy to read!
Favorite Patterns:
Luxury Yarn One Skein Wonders by Judith Durant, editor

Likes:
  • The variety of patterns for a variety of knitters and skill levels
  • The patterns are organized by weight of the yarn
  • The photos are really nice.
Dislikes:
  • I wish the photos were on the same pages as the patterns and not in a separate section in the front
  • I know it is luxury yarn, but they use very specific brands, and some use specific yarn types, that I feel could be harder to find for some knitters.
Favorite Patterns:

Feminine Knitsby Lene Holme Sams√łe


Likes:
  • The project pages have photos of the garments on the model as well as laid out so you can see it's general shape. I wish more books did this!
  • The patterns are really pretty and even though this book is from 2004 (?) it seems like they would still be in style
  • The back has yarn recommendations for substitutions.
Dislikes:
  • Most of these patterns are not for beginners
  • Quite a few of the patterns seem to be designed for 'older' people (no offense...)
Favorite Patterns:
That's it for today's review! I hope you all enjoyed reading my thoughts and are having a great weekend!

~Lisa

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

WIP Wednesday #2 - Socks and Shirts

Hey all. I really appreciated hearing all the feedback on my prints, I am so glad you guys liked them.

Today's WIP Wednesday is dedicated once again to my Springy Orange Socks, as well as a new project I am about to embark on.

Last time you saw these socks I was ready to start the heel and they were both on the same needle. Well I attempted to work both heels at once last week and it ended in epic fail. That pattern is just not written for 2aat because of the decreases and such that it requires to make the foot and toe pretty. So I ripped out what I had and separated them. As much as they didn't want to be, it was for the best.  After separating them, I was able to focus on the construction and the pattern and last night I finished the first sock! Now I just have to put sock 2 back on the needles and do it all over again. *Sigh* I guess it gives me something to do at knit night tonight.

One down, one to go!

So I know I said I wouldn't start anything else until these socks were done BUT the lack of homework is getting to me and I am going insane! Oddly enough, having 5 hours a day of knitting time is becomes a bit mundane. I really need to get off my butt and do something more but.... ok I am considering a second job....but.....

Anyways, I don't think I ever shared what I have decided to do with the 1200+ yards of amazing Bamboo Lace I got a few weeks back. After hunting and searching and thinking and hunting and thinking more I finally decided on the Train Sweater.  This pattern only takes half of my yarn and is specifically written for lace weight.  The best part I think is that I can probably mess up the lace pattern a bit (Me and lace have a love-hate relationship) and still make it look ok. And it's IN THE ROUND! WOOT!

Ok so here is the swatch, which is being blocked right now. I still haven't fully mastered even blocking, but it is just a swatch. Also, this photo does no justice to the amazingness that is the color of this yarn.


I'm really excited for this project!

In other, spinning news, I decided against plying the 2 2-ply merinos together. I attempted to last night and I just could not get it even and not loose at the same time. They just would not work together. So (for now) they are staying as is. I may give a skein to Ivy (since it was her yarn) and keep one for me and knit a cowl or something. Who knows.

Attempt at plying and drawing = Fail :(

Well, summer school is pretty fun. No homework and I am learning a lot in a short amount of time. I hope everyone else out there in blog land is enjoying the season while you can!

~Lisa

For more WIP Wednesdays, check out Tami's Amis Blog!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Lets Learn Something New Today!

Hey guys. So I just realized today that I never showed you my other art from this previous semester. I showed you my drawings, and my amazing painting, but I didn't show you the prints I made in Intro to Printmaking.

Let me preface by saying how much fun I had in this class; it will seriously go down as one of my favorite classes. It was a lot of work though too.

For those of you who may not know what Printmaking really is (me included before this semester), it is the process of either engraving an image into metal (in our case copper) or cutting away an image (usually wood) and then running it through a printing press to put the image on paper.

It's a really long and tedious process if you don't know what you are doing. Take, for example, the below print.
Stage 1

By now you guys are probably thinking I am obsessed with the Wizard of Oz, what with my blog name, and now this print (not to mention an assignment in my mixed media class was to alter a book and I did Wizard of Oz) but I promise you I am not (really...). I was in love (and still am) with Wicked the Musical when I made this blog, and it was hard to NOT do Wizard of Oz for this print. The reason for that is that the first assignment was to take a print from Goya's Caprichos and either copy it entirely or change some things around but leave the general composition. So when I chose This Print, it shouted flying monkeys at me and my imagination went wild.

To create a good line etching, you cover a copper plate in a ground and then draw into it. Whatever copper is exposed is what will be etched when it is put into the acid bath. To create different darkness-es you leave it in for different periods of time, and either reveal or cover up as you go. The above print was my first state and turned out pretty awful -- even my teacher thought so. I was really frustrated at that point and wasn't sure how to turn it around. 

Stage 2

After doing the initial line etching, we were required to add aquatint (once you get into advanced classes you don't have to do aquatints, so line etchings are good on their own). To add an aquatint, you cover up the areas you want white with the ground and then spray paint specks on the rest and put it in the acid. To make different darkness-es you once again cover up as you go.  The above is the initial aquatint, before I added shadows and depth. 

Stage 3

This is where I finally started liking my print. To add different highlights you simply burnish away the textures created by the aquatints. The harder you press with your burnisher, the more it takes off and the whiter it gets. I knew I wants a nice range so I added burnishing in several areas, with different strengths of pressing throughout.

Final Stage

Between stage 3 and this one I did quite a bit of burnishing and re-aquatinting according to what my teacher thought I should do. I am so proud of this print, and so was my teacher. What started out as a crappy line etching turned into an amazing final print with a great composition and nice twist on a class Goya print. My teacher absolutely loved it also; he thought I was really creative in my ideas.

All of the above literally took most of the semester, because making prints is a learning process the first time. We also had 2 other assignments this semester. The second was another copper etching of whatever imagery we wanted. He calls it the "Imagination Plate", and we started by just writing down whatever came to our brains over a ten minute span. Since he called it imagination, some of the ideas that came to my head were a bit absurd, including my final imagery choice: A knitting cat in the bathtub.  

From there it expanded into this:

A knitting cat wearing a gas mask in the bathtub, located in the typical kitty game room.

If I could find my original line etching of this I'd show you guys, but I can't. I am kinda glad, because it was just about as bad as my line etching for the Goya. There is just something about aquatinting that is magic for me - my teacher agrees. I didn't mean to make it that black either, but I think I underestimated the power of the acid and left it in too long. But I like it! All those white (except the pure whites of the tv, cat, and dart board) were burnished away and it was so much fun to see the results when I got done.

The 3rd project was a woodblock, which involves cutting away into wood and then printing the image onto paper. I don't have any copies of that one to show you guys, because they take forever to print and dry and I didn't have time to make any more than the one I gave my teacher (I have NINE of the bathtub kitty prints...if anyone wants one I may sell a couple...just saying). The woodblock was a gas mask kitty sleeping surrounded by air tanks and smog. It wasn't as successful.

By the end of the semester my teacher was pestering me to take advanced next semester, he was THAT impressed with my prints. Sadly I cannot, too many other studios next semester. But I will take it next spring. I really did enjoy this class, it was a nice creative outlet for my brain to have and so laid back. If I keep making prints, I have a few more ideas for gas mask kitties I want to do. There is just something about the gas mask that fits really well onto the cat head. Maybe I just have a sick brain.

Summer is here! Which means more knitting! Hopefully I'll post on WIP Wednesday. Until then, have a great week!

~Lisa

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

First Attempt at a WIP Wednesday

Yes, I am caving and participating in WIP Wednesdays. Partially because now that school is pretty much over, I can spend more time on my crafts, and partially because today I have a bunch of WIPs I can share.

First, I want to show you what exactly you were looking at in my last blog post:


A lot of you probably saw this the first time I discussed it, but I have since edited it a bit more. All those pictures from the last blog was me messing around with my camera at studio after I finished up. It really made me think about perspective and how we view art.

Back to the WIP's, I've had a pretty good chance to work on stuff this week, since my only real final is Friday. I have been very heavily working on my Springy Orange Socks, which are becoming my new favorite pair by far. It was so nice here last weekend and also Happy Hour at my local coffee shop so I decided to pack up my knitting and go there and sit on their patio. Me and my friend Lynnsay stayed for the whole Saturday afternoon!

Between knitting at the coffee shop and the last few days, I have managed to get the entire cuff and the heel flaps done on my socks. :)

Such a pretty color!

Besides knitting, I have been doing a bit of spinning, producing more amazing postcards, as well as getting quite a bit done. 

For those of you who read Pumpkin Spins, you may remember this from a post a while back. My good friend Ivy who writes the blog was having some issues with the merino (Basically...she hated it), so being the good friend I am I offered to ply it for her, and being the good friend she is she agreed and mailed it my way. Well I have since gotten 2 skeins plyed, each of about 100yds each. It's at about a worsted weight right now, but I really want to ply these 2 skeins together and get a bulky yarn to use for a cowl or something warm this winter.

May not be the best fiber, but the colors are gorgeous!

Along with the plying mission, I have also been working on another fiber, although I am taking a bit of a break from it. Once again, it's becoming more of a worsted weight -- I really want to get better at spinning thinner, but alas that has yet to happen. This is a blend of Merino and Tussah Silk that I got for my birthday last year and it's the most gorgeous purple with blues and yellows mixed in. This photo does no justice.

LOVE!

I have had a great catch up week craft wise, and I am so glad summer is almost here. Yes I will have one all-day-every-day-for-3-weeks class starting next week, and then a 7-4 job after that, but at least the homework will be very minimal so once I am done with those things I can do whatever I want for the rest of the day :) I hope everyone else is ready for summer like me!

~Lisa



Monday, May 7, 2012

Yarn Bombing

This is what happens when you add bored me, a camera, a studio, and bunch of artwork. Enjoy.

Oh and I also discovered the vivid colors setting on my camera and fell in love!









































































































Have a great week!

~Lisa